Thu 11 Nov 2021
Average house prices jumped by £4,400 in September to a record high of £267,587, according to the Halifax. Jeremy Leaf, principal of Jeremy Leaf & Co, told Mail Online: ’We are finding activity has lost some oomph but there is still plenty of life left, supported by record low interest rates and supply, while though rising, is not doing so fast enough. The market also seems to be shrugging off rising inflation and the end of furlough, as well as widening economic concerns.'
HMRC also confirmed that house sales surged by more than two-thirds in September, considerably higher than last year, although the market is expected to slow following the stamp duty holiday stimulus. Jeremy Leaf told City AM: ‘On the ground, we are already seeing to what extent sales were brought forward as activity has reduced but certainly not ground anywhere near to a halt. Buyers continue to be motivated by record low mortgage rates, shortage of suitable stock, government support schemes and unexpected savings.'
Meanwhile, the slightly more dated Office for National Statistics survey found that the price of a home rocketed by £25,000 in the year to August as the pandemic property boom continues. Jeremy Leaf told This is Money: ‘Although these figures are a little dated, they demonstrate once again the resilience of the market, which was still rocking and rolling in August even though buyers at that time would have been unable to take advantage of the stamp duty tax break. Continuing shortage of stock, low interest rates, unexpected savings and government support schemes are underpinning buying and selling activity.'
The Budget and Spending Review touched on the cladding crisis with a £2bn house builder tax announced to contribute to remediation. But is it too little too late, with many of the hundreds of thousands of leaseholders trapped in this unsaleable flats first-time buyers, effectively wiping out a chunk of the housing ladder? Jeremy Leaf told The Daily Telegraph: ‘First-time buyers are the lifeblood of the housing market, they trade up after a couple of years and ensure that the rest of the market can operate freely.'
Demand for fixer-upper homes is falling amid long waits for builders and spiralling project costs. Jeremy Leaf told The Daily Telegraph he was seeing clients both small and large rethinking major purchases because of worries about building work. ‘The costs of building materials and the difficulty in getting labour are definitely pushing more people towards new homes. That is because trying to find a builder who can start within a reasonable time is one thing at the moment but knowing roughly what they are eventually going to charge you is another altogether.'